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YouTube’s advertising problems won’t drag down Alphabet’s first-quarter earnings

Alphabet reports numbers on Thursday.

This is an image of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, CFO Ruth Porat.
Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat
Michael Kovac / Getty

Alphabet reports first-quarter earnings Thursday, and despite the recent YouTube ad controversy, the advertiser pullouts likely won’t drag down its revenue.

Here’s what to look for:

Alphabet is expected to show increased profits for the period of $7.38 a share, according to Wall Street estimates. It’s also expected to bring in $16.4 billion in ad sales, minus payouts to its partners.

Any impact from advertisers boycotting YouTube over concerns that ads ran in inappropriate videos most likely won’t impact the company’s results.

Despite the fact that big advertisers like AT&T, Verizon and L’Oreal pulled their ads after the controversy erupted, Google makes most of its ad money from small- to mid-size companies, the so-called longtail of advertising. Plus, the boycott was largely concentrated in the U.K.

Ad spending that was canceled toward the end of the first quarter was actually mostly just postponed until Alphabet put in corrective measures, according to Goldman Sachs, whose analysts say long-term impact of the boycott is unlikely.

But analysts at Nomura Instinet predict YouTube will lose roughly $750 million of an originally estimated $10.2 billion in revenue this year over the ads controversy.

Alphabet doesn’t break YouTube revenue out in earnings, so we won’t see numbers, but it should be interesting to hear what executives will (and won’t) say about the situation.

We should also expect more details on the performance of Google’s enterprise offerings. Google executive and board member Diane Greene, who heads up its cloud division, said at the Forbes CIO summit this week that she thinks Google cloud can overtake market leader Amazon Web Services by 2022.

That would be a very surprising feat for Google. Google has a few big enterprise customers — Snap uses Google cloud, and Verizon uses Google’s workplace apps like Google Docs and Google Calendar — but its cloud business is minuscule compared to its biggest cloud competitor.

Google cloud revenue was estimated by RBC at only about $1 billion a year, compared to $12.2 billion generated by Amazon Web Services in 2016.

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